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Have a prototype up your sleeve or an importing opportunity on your mind? If so, there are various product standards you should know about to enable your product to be sold in New Zealand.

The history of invention is littered with many forgotten facts, but perhaps chief among them is the undeniable truth that Leonardo da Vinci had never heard of product standards.

Brilliant, yes, many of his inventions undoubtedly were, but safe? Let’s put it this way, if anyone did make and test da Vinci’s flying machines they certainly didn’t live to talk about it.

Creating a bold new product to meet a gap in the market – or even importing one – is exciting stuff. But you have to keep your feet on the ground (no pun intended).

If you don’t keep New Zealand’s standards regulations in mind when developing your product or checking out an import opportunity, you’ll end up doing a good impression of a Renaissance-era test pilot yourself (i.e. flying without a parachute).

Standards in New Zealand are governed by three pieces of legislation, that all work in tandem, plus product safety standards.

They are:

  • The Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA)
  • The Fair Trading Act (FTA), and
  • The Weights and Measures Act (WMA)

Often, the most important of these for new or imported products is the CGA, which outlines the set of consumer guarantees products and services must meet.

There are many guarantees, with some applying to products and others to services, but they all include things you’d expect when you buy products and services from others.

The guarantees include, for example, that a product is fit for purpose. Say you develop a price-busting household broom, but when you take it market you find the economic lightweight material you use for the handle means it breaks under normal use. In this situation, you’d be in breach of the CGA.

Overall, it’s really common sense stuff. Where businesses often get it wrong is under what kind of products and services the CGA applies to. There are caveats, but the main thing to remember is that if the product or service is designed for business use or as part of a manufacturing process it’s not covered by the Act.

This isn’t to say, however, that if you’re selling consumer goods to a business the Act automatically doesn’t apply. If you don’t have their written agreement to you opting out, you’ll be in breach of the Fair Trading Act and could be fined up to $200,000 in court.

But, crucially, what the CGA states (under a product being ‘fit for purpose’) is that you – as the manufacturer or importer of a product – are responsible for it being safe to use.

In most product categories the CGA is the last word, with expected standards set by the Act’s consumer guarantees, industry and component-specific best practice standards (which you can find online with Standards New Zealand), and market factors, such as the expectations of retailers.

However, there are also mandatory product safety standards in six categories. If your product is a baby walker, children’s nightwear, a child’s toy, a household cot, a cigarette lighter or a pedal cycle go online to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs website to find the standards you need to follow.

If you import a product in one of these categories which doesn’t meet these standards, it simply won’t be allowed through customs.

The best course of action is to seek legal advice from a lawyer with experience in your sector and, if you’re importing a product, to check first on the Ministry of Consumer Affairs website whether it’s banned in New Zealand by an Unsafe Goods Notice.

Importing, selling or even advertising such goods is an offence under… you guessed it, the Fair Trading Act.

The Fair Trading Act keeps coming up for a reason. It’s all about ensuring fair competition between rival businesses and ensuring consumers aren’t misled.

Even if you don’t intend to mislead a consumer, if your actions result in a consumer being misled you could be investigated under the Act by the Commerce Commission, and be separately taken to court by the individual consumer in question.

The Act covers deceptive or misleading activities carried out when promoting goods and services, plus others carried out regardless of whether the parties involved are ‘in trade’ (such as advertising a job in a misleading way).

And then there’s the Weights and Measures Act. If your product needs to be weighed or measured, you also have to consider this Act that outlines the standards and accreditation required to ensure measuring accuracy.

If you plan to sell firewood by the measure, for example, or use a weighbridge to set pricing, then you need to make sure you apply with this Act.

At first glance, product safety standards and the triumvirate of Acts aligned with them, look like a puzzle worthy of The Da Vinci Code. But if you take the time to look into how they work together you’re much more likely to get your business off to a flying start.

Further resources:

  • Business.govt.nz – for an overview of the standards regulations relating to manufacturing and importing.
  • Consumer Protection – for more information on the Consumer Guarantees Act, product safety standards and the Weights and Measures Act.
  • The Commerce Commission – for more information on the Fair Trading Act.
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Listen to the interview
Interview - Adrienne Church of Prospa.co.nz - SoundCloud
(335 secs long, 5 plays)Play in SoundCloud

When Sydney entrepreneurs Greg Moshal and Beau Bertoli got sick of the long and arduous process involved in applying for relatively small business loans, they decided there had to be a better, more efficient way.

As a result, seven years ago they launched an online small business lending platform called Prospa and this week Prospa floated on the ASX, raising over A$100 million in the process.

Having lent over A$1 billion to more than 19,000 small Australian businesses in those seven years since launching, the two entrepreneurs opened up Prospa.co.nz for lending in New Zealand in late 2018, and have already lent over $NZ12.5 million to NZ small businesses in that time.

Speaking with #nzentrepreneur editor Richard Liew, Adrienne Church, General Manager of Prospa New Zealand, said that the company is looking forward to having as big an impact for New Zealand small businesses as they have for our counterparts in Australia.

“We’re a cofounder led business,” said Church, in reference to Prospa founders Moshal and Bertoli who operate as joint CEO’s.

“They recognised there was a gap in the market primarily because they had that experience themselves.”

Prospa has built their niche providing business loans of $5,000 to $150,000, with no security required for loans under $100,000.

But it is their streamlined “paper work free” application process and fast loan approval times that Church believes small business owners appreciate most.

Loan applicants can initiate their application online or by calling Prospa directly. A short interview with a Prospa lending consultant follows while Prospa’s intelligent risk assessment simultaneously pulls 450 data points from assorted data sources enabling decisions to be made sometimes within just 10 minutes of completing the application process.

“We know small business owners are time poor, we know they’re having to do a hundred things and wearing multiple different hats… for our process we really only ask 21 questions while we’re talking to them,” says Church.

Funds are then often available for drawing down within 24 hours.

With over 500,000 New Zealand businesses falling into the category, Church says the lending market for small and medium enterprises here is worth at least $4 billion per year and Prospa will be hoping to provide a large portion of that. A growing broker channel will also enable business owners to apply for funding through their preferred financial services advisor.

Supplementing their entry into the New Zealand market, Prospa will also be providing regular market commentary and thought leadership content for business owners here on #nzentrepreneur, starting later this month.

The post Supporter Channel: Prospa appeared first on NZ Entrepreneur Magazine.

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The Restructuring Insolvency and Turnaround Association of New Zealand (RITANZ) has welcomed news that the Insolvency Practitioners Bill has passed into law on Wednesday, almost a decade after it was first introduced into Parliament.

The Insolvency Practitioners Regulation Bill and the Insolvency Practitioners Regulation (Amendments) Bill are designed to promote better outcomes under the corporate insolvency system – introducing tighter regulations and standards to ensure practitioners act in the best interests of creditors.

The laws will see the implementation of a robust new licensing system for insolvency practitioners, providing effective mechanisms to monitor and regulate their conduct. Practitioners will also be required to undertake continuous professional development in order to uplift the insolvency industry.

Licensing will finally bring New Zealand up to par with international standards, as well as ensuring consistency with the approach taken to other financial professions, such as auditors and financial advisors.

RITANZ is New Zealand’s independent self-regulatory body for insolvency practitioners and those working in the field of business reconstruction, turnaround and corporate and personal insolvency. The organisation has actively advocated the need for licensing in the industry and introduced self-regulation, in the absence of government regulation.

RITANZ Chair, John Fisk, strongly supports the passing of the Bills, noting they promote the importance of practitioner regulation.

“This is a significant development for our industry and one which we are supportive of, in terms of the new co-regulation and licensing for insolvency practitioners. This move by the Government means that we’ll now be on a more level playing field. We’re delighted that Parliament has responded to the need to protect the interest of creditors who have suffered financial losses.

“As an industry body which exists, in part, to restore the economic value of underperforming businesses, assist financially challenged individuals and promote the integrity of the insolvency profession, we believe this is in the best interests of our industry as well as the New Zealand public, and we therefore welcome this new development.”

The law was first introduced to Parliament in April 2010, and was parked for a number of years before being revived by Paul Goldsmith in 2013, then continued by Kris Faafoi following the change in Government.

Both Bills will be phased in over the next year, with full implementation expected by the end of June 2021.

Further details of the legislation:

  • In order to carry out liquidation proceedings, insolvency practitioners must either hold a licence with an accredited body or be a lawyer, accountant or member of a recognised professional body.
  • The Registrar of Companies will implement and manage the public register of licensed insolvency practitioners – and be responsible for granting accreditation for individuals or organisations to issue and administer licences.
  • Under the new legislation, insolvency practitioners will be required to apply for a new licence every five years, to ensure they remain fit to carry out liquidations. Licences will be granted on the basis that applicants meet the minimum prescribed standards.
  • Strict penalties will be enforced under the new licensing regime, with unlicensed individuals acting as insolvency practitioners being liable to a fine of up to NZD$75,000.
  • The legislation also implements more rigid disclosure and reporting requirements, to effectively manage liquidation proceedings and practitioner appointments, ensuring there are no conflicts of interest or disclosure of misinformation.

The post Insolvency Practitioners Bill to give more protection for creditors appeared first on NZ Entrepreneur Magazine.

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Orcon has launched a new ‘always-on’ internet service for small businesses and is giving Kiwi business owners the chance to win a free 12 month unlimited broadband connection worth up to $1500.

Reliable internet access is critical for most businesses. If the internet’s down, so is productivity. But internet service provider Orcon says the introduction of a new service for small and home based businesses, practically assures always-on connectivity.

This is thanks to the combination of a wired connection which automatically switches to 4G should the wired connection go down.

“New Zealand is a nation of small businesses. We’re also a nation which loves it’s connectivity and we use more online services than most other places in the world to run our companies,” says Taryn Hamilton, General Manager at Vocus Group New Zealand, which operates Orcon.

“We’ve designed the Orcon Small Business service for three things: ultimate reliability, ultimate convenience, and a low monthly price.”

Hamilton said Orcon has re-entered the small business space thanks to the new technology it can offer.

“Small businesses need super-reliable connections, but often can’t afford the monthly fee that comes with a gold-plated business service. But having a 4G SIM card built into the modem is an innovative way to ensure connectivity and a great price.”

Hamilton notes that the internet is indispensable to businesses of every type today as we rely on an internet service for a range of activities, from IP EFTPOS systems to online stock management to cloud accountancy and more.

“If your internet goes down, transactions can be lost, opportunities missed, and reputations tarnished.

“We know that nobody is happy when an internet connection goes down. But for small business owners, it’s more than an inconvenience, it costs money. Interruptions can become a thing of the past with Orcon Small Business: it’s a set and forget solution which uses UFB or a wired connection as standard, and automatically switches to 4G if there’s any interruption,” says Hamilton.

“The idea is that this service should effectively put an end to internet outages, for whatever reason. It is highly unlikely that both the wired and cellular networks will go down simultaneously, owing to their different modes of operation. And that gives our small business customers a far better assurance of reliability than ever before possible.”

The Orcon Small Business communication service starts at $89.95 excluding GST, for both ADSL/VDSL and ultra-fast fibre connections on a 12-month contract.

Win 12 months ‘always on’ unlimited broadband for your business!

To enter, see our competition post on Facebook or on LinkedIn and share a link to your business for the chance to win one of two Orcon Small Business ‘always-on’ 12 month broadband internet packages worth up to $1517.31 each. Entries close 7pm Sunday 23 June 2019. Winners announced Monday 24 June. Competition open to businesses operating from New Zealand only. Orcon terms and conditions apply.

The post Competition: Win free Orcon business broadband for a year appeared first on NZ Entrepreneur Magazine.

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In the entrepreneur world we hear a lot of talk about entrepreneurs and businesses needing to be “global from day one”. Investors and business commentators lament our lack of large global businesses and say the “three-B” (bach, ‘Beemer’ and boat) mentality of Kiwi business owners is holding us back. In this regard small businesses are often viewed as symbolic of a lack of progress, rather than symbolic of success – the unfortunate by-products of big businesses that “should have been”.

Our sharemarket, they say, is underdeveloped because of this (although I would argue our lack of business capital is in part due to our preference to invest in property rather than entrepreneurs) and that New Zealand is a small nation, with business owners who are content to build small businesses.

But while it’s true that New Zealand needs more globally successful brands bringing us in mountains of foreign cash, there are some very real reasons we need to place more emphasis on valuing and supporting our small businesses and small business owners.

While we often hear statistics asserting New Zealand as a nation of small businesses, such as 97% of businesses in New Zealand having less than 20 employees (which is the current definition of a small business in New Zealand and Australia), these numbers are not the reason why small businesses are important in and of themselves. That’s like saying men are important to humans because nearly half the world is made up of men.

Here’s why small businesses are integral to the health and wealth of our economy and country.

1) Small businesses support healthy towns and communities

If you’re one of the 2.5million-odd people who would rather not live in Auckland, Christchurch or Wellington, you’re only able to do so because of the small business owners willing to take on the risk of bringing you the goods and services you need. As I witness here in Wanaka (population 10-12,000) on a regular basis, starting businesses in smaller towns is risky! It’s a delicate balance between population and competition. Population growth attracts new competitors to the market and just one new competitor could put you out of business.

Similarly, the loss of just one other employer could be enough to put your customers out of jobs and you out of business.  We’ve seen in the past what happens to towns built around one big employer, when they get mothballed.

2) Small businesses keep profits in New Zealand

While larger businesses tend to make more tempting targets for international acquisition, thus siphoning profits out of New Zealand and into the pockets of foreign shareholders, small businesses are generally closely held, with profits staying in the hands of New Zealanders.

In turn, these profits are generally spent or invested by said owners, back into the business owners’ local economies and communities. All else being equal, 100 small New Zealand owned businesses sharing profits is generally better for our country than a market being dominated by one large foreign owned company.

3) Small businesses help spread the wealth

Around the world, inequality and the growing wealth gap is rightfully becoming a major societal concern, threatening the economic and political stability of local and international economies. Following the GFC, worldwide protests brought the world’s increasingly skewed distribution of wealth into focus for a new generation and the disparity is only speeding up.

While globally, the 26 wealthiest individuals own as much as half of the rest of the world combined, the wealthiest 20% of households here in New Zealand own 70% of household net wealth. New Zealand is undoubtedly one of the greatest places in the world to live, but we are becoming a nation divided, with the “New Zealand way of life” experienced by the wealthy minority being quite different to the New Zealand experienced by those at the other end of the spectrum.

While many are quick to point the finger at capitalism as the culprit and cause of inequality, the irony is that capitalism is also the best antidote, and small businesses have a vital part to play.

What do I mean by this? With big businesses, profits are generally earned by extracting revenue from a very wide catchment, but get channeled back through a narrow funnel of stakeholders, leading to a focused accumulation and concentration of wealth.

Take “The Warehouse” for instance. While we love shopping for bargains at The Warehouse, and can appreciate how it has helped bring down prices of everyday goods for the enjoyment of all New Zealanders, how many small businesses has its 90 odd stores helped push under in various towns and cities over the last 35 years? Where once a small town may have needed 20 or 30 different businesses to supply the goods and services found in the typical Warehouse store, with revenue and profits being shared amongst many town business owners, who in turn spend that money in their local economies, that revenue now goes to one company, with the profits leaving town as dividends for The Warehouse group shareholders.

And who can blame us “rational consumers”? We all want to get the best value for our money. We don’t want to pay “more than we have to”. But if we don’t want the small towns we live in to disappear, or to be taken over by large corporates and international chains, we need to do two things.

First, be a conscious consumer. Be mindful of where you spend your money. Think global by all means, but buy local and locally owned. And be proud if you have to pay a little extra. Remember, big businesses will lower their prices just enough to drive other businesses out of the market – they are generally not incentivised to lower their prices any more than is absolutely necessary. 

Secondly, as a business owner, get out and compete! Competing on price is a race to the bottom that you probably won’t win. So if you can’t beat the big guys on price, you’re going to have to beat them on service. Or experience. Or the fact that you are locally owned and know your customers by name.

You must find a way to differentiate yourself and give people a reason to spend with you.

  • Be unique
  • Go niche and go “deep”
  • Go fair trade, sustainable, ethical
  • Use only local produce
  • Customise or go bespoke

There is always a market for those who are not solely price driven so give buyers in your town options on who they can spend their money with. And when it comes to spending your own money as a business owner, see the first step!

Until consumers and suppliers understand that we are both responsible for “making small town New Zealand great again” nothing will change.

4) Small businesses can innovate fast

While Statistics NZ reports that larger businesses spend the most on R&D, I do not take this as an indication that the majority of innovation is done by big business. Rather that our attempt to measure spending on R&D as a sign of “innovation” is a bit inadequate.

In the US, small businesses have been shown to be responsible for 16 times as many patents per employee than large businesses. I would not be surprised if there is a similar trend here in New Zealand.

Indeed based on my observations, and those of others in the entrepreneur community, my gut would tell me that most innovation happens on the fringes, by small business owners unhampered by the corporate bureaucracy that often hinders progress, and that rewards playing it safe (“don’t lose our shareholders money!”) rather than risk taking.

While intrapreneurship and agile development is on the up, large businesses often prefer to innovate by acquiring the smaller, nimbler businesses in question, sitting back, watching the fireworks, and swooping in when the smoke has cleared.

5) Small businesses are the genesis of big business

But the main reason we need to do more to support small business owners is that in almost all instances, small businesses are the breeding ground for big businesses. All big businesses once started out as a small business (some even with only small ambitions when they started out) and big business builders often cut their teeth building small businesses.

Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Disney, Virgin, Ikea, Alibaba, Amazon, Nike, Body Shop – just some global brands born in garages, home offices and bedrooms. Here in NZ, The Warehouse, Michael Hill, CallPlus, AJ Hackett, Les Mills, Buckley Systems, Karen Walker, Volunteer HQ – all started as small businesses.

That is not to say small business owners shouldn’t be encouraged to think bigger when they start their businesses (I would suggest that indeed, most small business owners actually start out with very big dreams). But that simply relying on the process of self qualification, the process of natural selection through business Darwinism where only the strongest will survive, in the hope that somewhere out of the milieu of the small business soup will emerge enough businesses that will miraculously kick on to become large businesses, is very short sighted.

How many potential world beaters have fallen by the wayside because the entrepreneur didn’t have the business skills to see their innovation flourish? How many ideas that could set the world alight have ‘died on the vine’ because of a lack of advice, connections or resource for those endeavouring to break through the small business barrier?

How many thousands of business owners have pursued their business building dreams for years, bootstrapping it as best they could on their own, and who not for the lack of trying inevitably decide that it’s just too hard, that national or international domination is out of reach, and settle instead for a small privately held business that provides them with a good income and a nice lifestyle.

How many Xero’s, or Buckley Systems, or Rocket Labs have gone begging because the owners didn’t know how to get them “investment ready”?

New Zealand is not short of innovators or world beating ideas – we are short of innovators who are also skilled entrepreneurs and business builders.

And in the increasingly competitive and fast moving global marketplace of the future, it will be even more important for our country (spearheaded by Government), to invest more, in developing policy, incentives and support for small business owners.

Small businesses are not the poor, unfortunate “also-ran” cousins of big businesses. They are the genesis of big business.

Richard Liew is founder and editor of #nzentrepreneur Like this? Get entrepreneur articles by email once a month. Source Confirm your free digital mag/s here: Marketing Online NZ Entrepreneur NZ Sales Manager NZ Fisher Australian Sales Leader   Subscribe

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Digital marketing success can be highly subjective. In my opinion, companies are either far too focused on the end sale or the conversion campaign, or they’re on the other end of the spectrum and are only worried about the brand and feel-good creative.

So should your digital strategy be focused on driving leads or building your brand? Answer: Your digital marketing must look after both the short term and the long term. Sales and brand.

The long term plays are things like giving value-driven content without the ask, running educational events, building communities, investing marketing dollars on brand attention instead of conversion and direct outcomes.

This may sound counter-productive to a lot of you, but it is these very brand focused activities that eventually impact the performance of your conversion based marketing in the future and long term sustainability and growth. Brand builds momentum.

If we think about the typical customer journey, from the time when they first become of your companies or products existence, through to after they have made a purchase, we can break the digital delivery into the four broad stages a customer goes through:

  • See (awareness of the product, service, brand)
  • Think (I really need this product or service)
  • Do (engage and purchase)
  • Care (after sales service, providing new information to a satisfied customer)

Looking at these stages channels and applying them to your digital marketing strategy is important.

“See”

Without investing in activities to drive awareness of your product or company you will not be building your brand quickly. You can only rely on word-of-mouth customers who are great, but a slow way to ensure business growth.

“Think”

This stage is a nice place to play to drive conversions and lead flow. A good example of an activity you should be doing to target customers at this stage is search engine optimisation. That is, improving your search engine rankings so that you are found by potential buyers that are in hunt-mode. This could also involved pushing your ad across Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to the right demographic that needs your product now to solve their problem. The “Think” stage is where 99% of marketers spend 100% of their budgets.

“Do”

This is where digital marketing smarts like remarketing and email automation come in handy. Activities targeted at customers at the “Do” stage build trust, urgency and inspire action so you can get that purchase. Without the “Do” campaigns, you are leaving a lot of opportunity on the table.

“Care”

Focusing on your current clients can be a surefire way to generate new revenue and build longer lasting relationships. Surprisingly most businesses focused and spend large amount of money on the “new relationships” before maximising and increasing the life time value of their current clients.

Campaigns that nurture your current base, educate them around new opportunities that ultimately lead to up-sell and cross-sell opportunities are critical for further success.

A lot of people ask me what channels I prefer for business growth and marketing. The truth is we here at Firefly are completely channel agnostic.

We think every business will have specific, and often different, channels or strategies that will work better than others depending on where their customer lives. Yes, I think certain channels have an amazing opportunity currently and are under priced due to slower adoption and saturation (and some of these opportunities get me seriously excited).

However, like a Swiss Army knife, having an agile approach with many options and reverse engineering your goals to utilise those channels, is almost always the best way to succeed.

It’s very easy to get fixated on just one particular channel (eg Facebook ads) because that’s what everyone else is saying is the best right now.

The thing is that effective digital marketing is not so much about what channel you use, as how well your strategy caters to your customers buying journey.

It is imperative not to write off other areas of marketing that can also drive exceptional results.

For example, just because a particular channel is producing an incredible cost per lead in a certain industry, does not guarantee it will do the same for you.

I am a big fan of all channels and have personally had experience from both a practical and strategy side, and I truly believe looking at multiple channels in your marketing approach also future proofs your business as channels are constantly rolling out new features with the effectiveness changing as they all evolve (particularly social media channels).

Over and above what channels you might use, digital strategy, and looking at the entire picture before implementation is one of the most important factors when jumping into the digital marketing space.

Anthony Baxter is founder and CEO at Firefly Digital. Get their free digital strategy play book at digitalmarketingstrategy.co.nz/free-book Like this? Get entrepreneur articles by email once a month. Source Confirm your free digital mag/s here: Marketing Online NZ Entrepreneur NZ Sales Manager NZ Fisher Australian Sales Leader   Subscribe

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The five winners of The Pick:19 are looking forward to taking their businesses to the next level after receiving their awards at The Orchard, in Whangarei, today.

The five winners, whittled down from a shortlist of 15, were: Absolute Stainless, Australasia Moulding, Grinning Gecko, My Goodness! (Wellkit Foods), and Olive & Ash; the Judges’ Choice nomination – a separate category – was presented to Matakohe Architecture and Urbanism.

But today’s event was not just a celebration of the winners – it also highlighted the diversity and range that exemplifies Northland’s entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers. From a company that distributes plastic manhole chambers, to a 100 per cent plant-based dehydrated mince called ‘Vince’, there was no shortage of inspiring products or ideas on display.

Joseph Stuart, general manager, business innovation and growth at Northland Inc and a member of the judging panel, told the winners that their stickability and dedication had been “really heart-warming” and acknowledged the hard work put in by all the competitors.

“It was extremely hard to draw a line in the sand during the judging process and we had to recalibrate on several occasions before deciding on our five winners,” he said. “That shows you the calibre of this year’s competition.

“There are some unique products among the winners, not just for Northland or New Zealand, but globally too. The Pick is now in its third year and represents a massive opportunity for these companies to go out there and make their mark.”

The judging process concentrated on six key areas: the strength of the business model (does the strategy make sense – do the figures stack up?); the strength and validity of the idea; the positive impact on Northland (its community, environment and economy); use of Northland’s natural resources; the global potential (is there capacity for the business to scale?); and its innovation.

More than 80 people registered for The Pick:19, with its 12 weekly workshops, which was run in association with The Orchard, Callaghan Innovation, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, the New Zealand Regional Business Partner Network, and Ecentre.

The winners will receive a Northland Chamber of Commerce membership and business mentor, through the Business Mentor Association; dinner, bed and breakfast for two at The Duke of Marlborough Hotel in Russell, co-sponsored by The Duke of Marlborough Hotel and Northland Inc; and a media package and business profile, including photographs.

The winners

Absolute Stainless

Sue and Simon Mehrtens, of Absolute Stainless – manufacturers of a trolley that makes storage of a jet ski on superyachts easy and safe – said that The Pick had helped the company in terms of how to market their product and “to develop our focus”.

“The story began a couple of years ago when a customer of Simon’s visited with a problem with their existing jet-ski trolley,” Sue said. “It was unstable, difficult to manoeuvre and the wheels would get damaged when stowed. Simon listened to what they wanted and designed a trolley that sat low the ground for excellent stability and ease of mobility. The trolley was such a success that we soon received six more orders, and we haven’t looked back.”

Australasia Moulding

Steve and Shelley McDonald, of Australasia Moulding, are the suppliers of quality European-designed plastic manhole chambers, which are “easy to work with, efficient to install and inherently durable”.

“The Pick has really helped us to streamline our message and get it out there,” Steve said. “It’s helped our marketing considerably too; being a part of The Pick has also helped to provide us with some much-needed clarity going forward. The benefits for our business have been significant already.”

Grinning Gecko

The message from Catherine McNamara, owner of Grinning Gecko – a Whangārei café and cheesery, where customers can see fresh cheese and ice cream being made onsite from locally-sourced organic milk – was equally effusive: “The Pick has proved incredibly valuable going forward. The workshops were particularly beneficial, not just for the calibre of the speakers, but the opportunity they gave us to talk, collaborate and share ideas.”

My Goodness!

Sarah Wells is marketing manager of My Goodness! (Wellkit Foods) an exotic dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan ice cream. Each spoonful contains 60 per cent persimmons, which are grown just north of Whangārei in the family orchard. The business is already attracting international attention. “We’re looking to Australia and have started exporting to the Asian market; I’ve even had a French magazine get in touch with me,” Sarah said.

“The Pick has really allowed us to expand on our business model, to refocus and concentrate on our structure. It’s been so exciting watching things take off during the past few months.”

Olive & Ash

Nigel and Debbie Stowe are the owners of Whangārei-based Olive & Ash, a 100 per cent plant-based vegetable mince, called Vince; Vince is dehydrated vegetable mince – just add water and it is ready to eat in two minutes. “The idea was to make a vegetable mince, hence the name Vince,” Nigel explained.

“The real driving force behind the concept was to try to get people to eat more vegetables, and to create a quick healthy meal for the family,” he added. “The Pick workshops were really helpful for us; apart from anything else, those weekly deadlines held us to account and kept us right up to the mark.”

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The post Winners of The Pick:19 ready to take the high road appeared first on NZ Entrepreneur Magazine.

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Wondering how to find the right cofounder but don’t know where to start? Wellington’s Nick Harley shares valuable advice for first time business builders.

I like to think I’m a decent footballer, a better than the average golfer and through my experience in the building trade, I can turn my hand to anything practical. I’m also a terrible chess player, crap at computer games and I’d expect most five year old girls to give me a beating at tennis.

Nobody is good at everything – we all have different skill sets, interests and things we suck at. So why should this be any different when starting a business?

If you are a solo founder, you may be able to do it all on your own initially but you’re making it very difficult for yourself. You can’t be everywhere, you can’t do everything and eventually you WILL need a team to grow further. If you’re scared about giving up on control or equity, then read on.

In my opinion, founders or early stage companies should only have a team of two or three people. Two people with opposing skill sets are the ideal scenario, not just for the company, but for investors too.

Some time ago I came across a startup with six founders. This will never work. Even if everyone gets along, puts in equal amounts of effort and the company succeeds in raising a seed round (they were hoping to raise an early seed round so they could work on it full time), if the investor were to take 40% of the company they’d be left with 10% each. They’d also have to cover six people’s full-time wages.

If and when they needed further funding, they’ll be down to 6-8% each. Not much return if they eventually sell out for $10M one day, so what would happen to their motivation along the way knowing they own so little? If you have more than three founders, I believe you have a problem.

Finding a technical cofounder

It’s a common issue – you have an idea that will require some technical know-how (eg coding, engineering, science) but don’t have those skills yourself. Hence you need what they call in startup world a “technical” cofounder. The problem is that any skilled people worth their salt are generally already otherwise employed. So why should a well paid developer, engineer or maker give it up and come and work on your startup?

Well, they won’t unless you can sell them the dream. If you have a good business idea and you can convince a technical cofounder to join you then you’ll be in a good position, but it’s not easy and it will not happen unless you make it happen.

I’ve had this problem myself. My first startup was a web based software system for the hostel industry, and I had limited technical experience. I thought I could do everything myself and outsourced the development to a company in Romania through a freelancing website – big mistake! If you are planning on doing this, I strongly advise against this route.

Building an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is relatively cheap. After you have validated your idea and studied your market (which costs next to nothing), you can build screenshots or a very simple demo. Using a freelancer for this is fine, but if you let them build your final product, you’ll regret it.

You can then use this market research and MVP to show potential customers and also try to hook yourself a technical cofounder/developer etc. Go to networking events, startup events and meetups and talk to people. There are plenty of Meetups, groups and events for NZ startups and entrepreneurs but the biggest thing to note here is that they won’t come and find you – you have to get out, get networking and find them!

Finding a non-technical cofounder

In the reverse situation, sometimes it’s the technical people who have a cool idea and product they’ve built. Because they have the skills to do it themselves they can often just get on and build it, but need help in order to market it and turn their idea into a business.

With all that product knowledge and technical understanding, a common trap that technical founders fall into is thinking that it qualifies them to also handle the business and sales side too. They then go out and get someone else who is also technical to help cover the load on the building side.

That’s not the best scenario though. You should always try and match your skills with a cofounder who has opposing skills while you focus on what you are good at. So if you’re a technical founder you should generally be partnering with a non-technical founder.

What if your business has no technical aspect at all?

If you have a physical product or are offering a service, you might not need a technical co-founder at all. But you are looking to go big you still need help and the same advice still applies. Look for someone with opposing skills.

Are you good at branding, sales and marketing but struggle with financials and the day to day running of the business? Find someone who can help you in other areas so that you can focus on your strengths.

One person might be good at systems, the other might be happier managing customers.

One person might also want to do both, but ask yourself, is that where you/they will be the most useful?

Getting the right fit

Once you find someone willing to help you, don’t jump in with both feet straight away. It could be that you will be spending more time with this person over the next few years than your friends, family and significant other. In fact they will be your other significant other, so you might want to date a few times before you pop the big question.

Do they have the same motivations? Do they have the same goals? It’s OK to be different in personality, but you’ll need to work alongside this person and you need to be going in the same direction or there will be trouble. If you argue, can it be easily sorted out because you’ll certainly have disagreements.

There are several things you’ll need to put in place to protect yourself (eg vesting schedules, shareholders agreements) and give any partnership the best chance of success. I encourage you to spend your earliest funds on legal work rather than blowing it building your product. This is especially important if you’re starting a business with friends – something that happens all the time. You don’t want to leave it until things go wrong and find out you are too late. Many friendships have been lost, and many hard lessons learnt due to disagreements between founders.

Have a trial period and see if this cofounder is the right match. Are their skills complementary to yours? Do you get on well? Put yourself out there, put the right things in place and luck will find you if give it the opportunity.

Nick Harley has experience in a number of startup teams and is former editor at #nzentrepreneur Like this? Get entrepreneur articles by email once a month. Source Confirm your free digital mag/s here: Marketing Online NZ Entrepreneur NZ Sales Manager NZ Fisher Australian Sales Leader   Subscribe

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The Dunedin City Council’s Economic Development Committee (EDC) has approved $150,000 to support the Startup Dunedin Trust’s development of the local startup ecosystem over 2019/20, providing pathways for entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses and support job creation in Dunedin.

The investment was based on a recommendation by the Grow Dunedin Partnership (GDP) including Ngāi Tahu, Otago Chamber of Commerce, University of Otago, Otago Polytechnic, Otago Southland Employers’ Association, and Dunedin City Council.

The funding will support the momentum in startup growth and it reflects continued confidence in the Startup Dunedin Trust, after its positive 2018 and 2019 activities. These included the launch of the Challenger Series, an incubation programme where three startups, Paper Not Foil, The Pet Bistro and Elixir accessed incubation services supported by Deloitte, Gallaway Cook Allan, and local and national entrepreneurs, and are now internationally active. The trust also facilitates Co.Starters, which provides startup and existing small business owners with tools and resources to run a sustainable operation while gaining a supportive peer network.

Chair of the DCC Economic Development Committee, Chris Staynes says, “We’re encouraged by the activities of the Startup Dunedin Trust which is building momentum and confidence in the startup ecosystem. In addition to the programmes delivered, which provide startups with the tools, resources and mentors that are required to grow, we are also pleased to see the that their efforts are helping Dunedin develop a reputation as a vibrant start up hub evidenced by the growth of significant businesses such as Timely, Pocketsmith, Bison and Igtimi. These companies clearly demonstrate that launching a new business and developing viable international markets is not hindered by locating in Dunedin and the city is keen to support this kind of creative success.”

The EDC’s decision builds on the objectives of the Economic Development Strategy, which are to increase income among Dunedin residents and grow jobs.

The Chair of Startup Dunedin, Sarah Ramsay, says, “EDC’s vote of confidence in Startup Dunedin Trust in 2018 has allowed us to prove how much we can achieve for Dunedin. We are seeing growth across all areas of the startup sector – more brand-new companies, more companies scaling up, more established businesses mentoring our future leaders and some really exciting movements in the pre-seed investor market. With this new and increased commitment from EDC we look forward to focusing on Dunedin’s lack of early stage capital and on developing our programmes so that more startups can access them.”

Representatives from the Startup Dunedin Trust spoke to the Dunedin City Council’s Economic Development Committee, describing their role in supporting the startup ecosystem and their objectives. These include improving the ease of access by startups to the people and resources they need, building confidence and belief in Dunedin’s startup ecosystem, growing opportunities for entrepreneurs to start and build businesses, and increasing the level of investment support available to early stage startups so they can generate income and increase employment.

The DCC’s Enterprise Dunedin Director, John Christie says, “The Trust’s activities, such as the Challenger Series, are great for the city, showing off our talented and skilled population and enabling well-paid, creative employment in niche markets.”

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Who: Enterprise Angels
What: Angel Investment, Venture Capital
HQ: Tauranga
Established: 2008
INTRODUCTION

We believe that growing innovative, socially and environmentally responsible companies is the key to ensuring people, communities, businesses, the environment, and the economy thrive.

Since launching in 2008 EA has facilitated the investment of over $40m in 78 different early stage and established businesses across a variety of industry sectors: agtech, technology, hardware and equipment, software and services, food and beverage and medical-human.

The core of our organisation is our membership which comprises experienced business people with a broad range of expertise. Members make individual investment decisions but do so together drawing on each other’s experience and expertise. This approach increases the returns from and success of investments. Our objective is to connect experienced investors with entrepreneurs and innovators.

To leverage the due diligence and deal preparation of our experienced angels, we use our online wholesale investor platform, AngelEquity. This provides non-member wholesale investors throughout New Zealand access to early-stage investments which have been screened and assessed by angel members.

Enterprise Angels manages the following related entities:

  • EA Nominee Ltd providing nominee services for our investors and portfolio companies.
  • EA GP Ltd providing fund management services for EA Fund 1, EA Fund 2 and EA Fund 3, early stage investment funds.
  • Purpose Capital Ltd providing fund management services for Purpose Capital Impact Fund, which draws together the philanthropic and commercial sectors to drive social and environmental change.
WHO DO YOU WORK WITH AND WHAT KEY CHALLENGES DO YOU HELP THEM SOLVE?

We work with investors and entrepreneurs who are passionate about growing innovative New Zealand companies. Growing companies successfully requires capital and expertise. We aim to bring those two ingredients together by connecting members and the EA team with early stage companies.

Our members are looking to invest time and money into innovative companies to help them grow. They bring a range of experience and business skills to the table. The true advantage of our early stage investment network is the breadth and depth of experience among our members.

The capital raising process is not an easy one, so EA aims to provide a professional service to founders and entrepreneurs. We provide timely value-add feedback and clear communications throughout the process. We consider startups from a range of sectors including IT, agtech, hardware, food and medical; and a range of stages from seed to early expansion, although the ideal time to approach us is when you have early market validation. We only invest in NZ companies.

SERVICES

Investment

We hold pitch events throughout the year. The EA team guides investees through the process of creating a drop sheet and pitch deck in preparation for pitch evenings, held bimonthly, where we will facilitate introductions to our many investors. Seamless facilitation of the capital raising process including due diligence, deal development, syndication and legals right through to settlement.

Advice

Our team has extensive experience in capital raising and our membership has a range of expertise in almost every industry. Entrepreneurs are invited to come along to ‘ADI (Angelic Drop-in) clinics’ where they will gain knowledge, advice and mentoring from Angel members.

Angel members will point entrepreneurs in the right direction of further tools to assist in becoming investment ready.

Connections

With over 200 individual members and 15 corporate partners, we have access to a huge network of business professionals. In addition we have strong relationships with venture capital and private equity firms who can provide ‘post Angel stage’ funding.

Resources

We provide a range of guides for both entrepreneurs and investors.

Investors can sign up at our online investing portal, AngelEquity, to receive a series of guides on early stage investing and a monthly email on latest technology and startup investing. Entrepreneurs – email us to find out more.

Enterprise Angels Annual General Meeting

EVENTS

We welcome entrepreneurs to contact us at any stage and attend our Pitch Nights, as spectators, to gain a better understanding of the capital raising process.

Angelic Drop-in (ADI) Clinics are a great way to engage with angels whether you have just an idea, a team and first validation, or recurring revenue and need money to scale. Our mentors are all Enterprise Angels members or partners with a wealth of expertise and willingness to help guide you with advice, connections and funding.

For dates go to www.enterpriseangels.co.nz/news-events/upcoming-events.aspx

HIGHLIGHTS

Enterprise Angels has grown to a team of eight, seven based in Tauranga, one in Hamilton, and have facilitated the investment of over $40m in 78 different businesses to date.

We have established a solid investment track record in this risky space:

  • 11 positive exits across the EA portfolio to date
  • Fund 1 launched in 2014 – 16 investments – 12% IRR
  • Fund 2 launched in 2016 – 20 investments – 8% IRR
  • Investors in both funds received distributions at the end of 2018
  • 10 of our investee companies have successfully raised Venture/Series A Funding

2019 sees the launch of EA Fund 3, a unique opportunity for investors to gain a diversified portfolio in the early stage investment space. Find out more at www.enterpriseangels.co.nz/ea-funds/ea-fund-3.aspx

Enterprise Angels Fund 3 allows investors to diversify their investment in New Zealand startups.

WHAT EXCITES YOUR TEAM ABOUT THE WORK YOU DO?

Enterprise Angels is fortunate to have a passionate staff of eight and a membership base of over 200 members who really understand the world of entrepreneurship and in turn are passionate about investing in the future of New Zealand.

The excitement of helping innovative entrepreneurs realize success and in doing so, helping NZ grow drives both our members and staff alike. We are able to provide expertise and assist throughout the entrepreneurial journey.

WHAT MESSAGE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE WITH THE NZ ENTREPRENEUR COMMUNITY?

Got a viable business idea? Want to learn more about how Angel investing can help your business? We can help you!

We focus on IT, agritech, engineering and food sectors, however if your idea is based in New Zealand, unique, scalable and ready for market, we want to talk to you. We are also interested in hearing about social enterprises – companies doing good socially or environmentally and making a profitable business out of it.

Contact us to find out how we can help.

GET IN TOUCH

Web: http://www.enterpriseangels.co.nz
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EnterpriseAngels
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/enterprise-angels

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